Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

Aaltra 2004

Directed by Benoît Delépine, Gustave Kervern

Belgium In English, Finnish, French and German with English subtitles
92 minutes B&W / CinemaScope

Directors, Screenplay


Hugues Poulain
Jackson Elizondo


Anne-Laure Guégan


Benoît Delépine
Gustave Kervern
Jason Flemyng
Aki Kaurismäki


Rotterdam, Sydney 2004


‘You’re the kind of bastard in a wheelchair who gives bastards in wheelchairs a bad name [expletives softened],’ screams one of the samaritans left wishing they’d never extended a helping hand to the fiendishly ungrateful heroes of Aaltra. The director/writers play the nasty pair, an uptight businessman and his laconic farmer neighbour who’ve lost their legs in an accident that would never have happened if they hadn’t been trying to beat the hell out of each other in the first place. Confined to wheelchairs, they hit the road, heading for Finland to confront the truck manufacturer – Aaltra – they hold responsible for their misfortune. The movie is as elegant as their behaviour is rude. Each comic encounter on the road is set up with dry visual wit and delivered with deadpan aplomb.

“A stylish diversion with genuine laughs and a refreshingly unholy take on the handicapped. After so many politically correct heart-wringers, it’s a liberating experience to watch two people in wheelchairs so thoroughly undemanding of pity.” — Jay Weissberg, Variety